From the Word
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
John 6:48–51, RSV
In these words the soul finds a well prepared table, at which it satisfies all hunger; for it knows of a certainty that he who speaks cannot lie. Therefore the soul falls upon the Word, clings to it, trusts in it, and builds its dwelling place in the strength of this well-prepared table. The living bread of which the Lord here speaks, is Christ himself. If in our hearts we lay hold of only a morsel of this bread, we shall have forever enough and can never be separated from God. The partaking of this bread is nothing but faith in Christ our Lord. He who eats of this food lives forever.
Notice that the Lord approaches us so lovingly and graciously, and offers himself to us in such gentle words that it should in all reason move the heart to believe on him; to believe that this bread, his flesh and blood, born of the Virgin Mary, was given because he had to pay the penalty of death and suffer in our stead the torments of hell, and besides suffer the guilt of sins he never committed, as if they were his own. This he did willingly and received us as brethren and sisters. If we believe this we do the will of the heavenly Father, which is nothing else than that we believe on the Son.
Therefore a Christian life is a life of bliss and joy. Christ’s yoke is easy and sweet. If we rightly appropriated the words of Christ, they would be of much greater comfort to us. But these words are not to be misconstrued and made to refer to the sacrament of the altar. There is not a letter of it that refers to the Lord’s Supper. The whole chapter from which the passage is taken speaks of nothing but the spiritual food, namely, faith. The sacrament of the altar is a testament and confirmation of this true supper, with which we should strengthen our faith and be assured that this body and this blood, which we receive in the sacrament, has rescued us from sin and death and all misery. It is now evident that whoever has faith in this bread of heaven, of which he here speaks, has already done the will of God and eaten of the heavenly manna.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 245–46.